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American Airlines is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles + a 10% discount when you purchase American Airlines miles through June 30, 2017. If you buy the largest amount possible, you can get them for as little as 1.72 cents each. That’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen American Airlines miles for sale (we also saw them on sale for 1.72 cents each this time last year).

Bonus miles are tiered based on how many miles you purchase. The best deal is to buy 150,000.

American Airlines miles cost 2.95 cents each plus a 7.5% excise tax, and every purchase has a $30 processing fee. The cheapest per-mile price comes from purchasing 150,000 American Airlines miles + 100,000 bonus miles (with a 10% discount) for $4,311.19.

That works out to getting 250,000 miles for roughly 1.72 cents each.

If you buy 126,000 + 70,000 bonus miles and 10% off, you pay about 1.85 cents each. If you buy 101,000 miles + 45,000 bonus miles and 10% off, you pay 1.99 cents each.


The cheapest miles price is 1.72 cents each during this promotion, and that requires shelling out $4,311.19. I value American Airlines miles around 1.5 cents each, so there is no way I would buy these miles speculatively for 1.72 cents. The only way it could possibly make sense to buy miles at these prices is if you had an immediate high value use for them and there isn’t a better deal on your dream trip by buying Alaska miles right now.

Possible high value uses are off peak international awards like 22,500 miles one way to Europe and partner Business Class awards like Japan Airlines Business Class to Japan or Korea for 60,000 miles.

To figure out if you have a high value use, use this simple expression:

(A – B) / (C + D)

  • A: Value of the award. Important: this is the lesser of the cash price and your subjective value.
  • B: Taxes on the award
  • C: Miles used on the award
  • D: Miles you would earn if you purchased the award ticket with cash

This will spit out the dollar value you are getting for your miles. If that number is greater than 0.018, put your dream award on a free five day hold with American Airlines, then look at whether you can get a better deal on the same or a similar award by buying Alaska miles.

Through July 1, 2017, you can buy Alaska Airlines miles with a 20 to 50% tiered bonus (your bonus options could also be different if this offer is targeted). You have to log in to your account at this link to see your offer. At a 50% bonus, you’d pay 1.97 cents per mile, but Alaska shares some partners with American Airlines and often has a far cheaper award chart.

When I log into Alaska’s website, I’m offered up to a 50% bonus
When I log into Alaska’s website, I’m offered up to a 50% bonus

If the AA sale offers an immediate high-value use that is better than the Alaska sale, then buy miles during this promotion, and book the held award. Otherwise, don’t buy.

Bottom Line

You can buy 250,000 American Airlines for $4,311.19 or 1.72 cents each through June 30, 2017. That’s too high a price to buy speculatively, but it could be a good deal if you have a high value use for the miles. Use the equation in the post above to help you figure that out.

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